Foreign Workers in Croatia an Important Link

Katarina Anđelković

Foreign worker in Croatia. Image of a team in a meeting

June 20, 2023 – The number of foreign workers in Croatia almost equaled the number of Croatian citizens registered with the national employment office.

As Poslovni/Novi List write, only the City of Zagreb and two counties in Croatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Split-Dalmatia have more employees than the total number of foreign workers in Croatia. If the number of foreign workers continues to increase at the current rate, it will soon surpass the total number of people who work in Primorje-Gorski Kotar.

There are no official figures on how many foreign workers in Croatia are currently employed. This means no official data on how many of them are among the insured persons who pay pension contributions. This data is kept by the Croatian Institute for Pension Insurance. According to the Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy estimates, however, slightly more than 95,000 foreign workers are insured in Croatia.

The number of foreigners in Croatia who are insured, that is, those who pay pension contributions, is greater than the number of insured persons in 18 Croatian counties. The number of employed foreigners in Croatia is several thousand more than those of insured persons. This includes workers employed on all grounds, even in two economically strong counties – Istria and Zagreb. The numbers almost equal the number of Croatian citizens registered with the national employment office.


Who are and what do Foreign workers in Croatia do

About eight thousand are citizens of the countries of the European Economic Area. In addition to the EU members, this includes Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland. Workers from Switzerland are included as well. A significant part of this is managers or other high-ranking employees who come to Croatia from parent companies that have bought companies in Croatia or established branches.

Croatia’s remaining 87,000 foreign workers are citizens of third countries and from non-EU neighbouring countries. However, the structure has changed significantly in the last few years, and Croatian employers are increasingly reaching out for them. Estimates say that there are about 28 thousand citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina working in Croatia. Workers from Serbia follow, around 12.7 thousand of them. Citizens of Nepal, about seven thousand took third place according to pension insurance applications.


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